Revitalised Tucker Ready For Half Marathon Challenge 2009: When Tucker

Revitalised Tucker ready for half marathon challenge

WHEN Mark Tucker missed Beijing Olympic team selection in the 1500 metres last April, he did what any disappointed 28-year-old elite athlete might do.
He decided to retire. Then, days later, Tucker did something out of the ordinary – he ran in the Canberra Marathon and won it. He also set an Australian record by winning the 50 kilometre ultra-marathon event. A new star was born. The reinvigorated and determined Tucker now has a burgeoning long-distance career and is the favourite for next month’s prestigious Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon, presented by Colonial First State, on May 17. “I wasn’t too upset when I ran fourth in the 1500m Olympic selection trials – I was pretty philosophical about it, actually – and I thought, seeing as I was in my late 20s, that it was probably time to retire,” Tucker said. “The 1500m was my favourite event, but I knew I was a long shot to be selected. I guess doing a marathon straight after that was a bit of a leap but I have always done a range of distances throughout my career. “And if I was going to retire, I thought I might as well do the Canberra Marathon first. It certainly helped my decision to keep going.” In the year since Tucker left behind his middle-distance ambitions and transformed himself into a potential Australian distance representative, he has recorded a personal best of two hours, 13 minutes and 49 seconds at Japan’s Fukuoka Marathon to put himself in line for selection in the world championship marathon team. The Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon, which is run through the streets of the city centre, is crucial race preparation for the August world championships in Berlin.
Last year’s champion, Canberra’s Martin Dent, is another vying for world title selection. He competed in the London Marathon on April 26, finishing 14th in 2:15.24.

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